Hiking and horseback riding in Mongolia

by Niamh and Cathel

Hiking and horseback riding in Mongolia

Hiking and horseback riding in Mongolia

Hiking and horseback riding in Mongolia



Hiking and horseback riding in Mongolia


We headed off to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, which is about 80kms east of Ulan Bataar. This is a protected area, with great opportunities for hiking and horseriding. The scenery is very wild and the minute we'd dumped our stuff in our ger we set off up the nearest hill. Once up there you could see hills for miles around and it was very windy. We spent about a few hours up there, relaxing and trying not to get blown away. We headed back to the ger for lunch and then went off to meet our horses for some riding.

I've ridden only once in recent years, in England, and Mongolia horses are quite a different proposition. They are very small, the saddles are very small - Cathal was a bit concerned about long term damage. However I was soon to discover they are very strong and have also go clear opinions about where they want to go. I was literally along for the ride and didn't have any say in the matter about direction or anything like that.

The men from the family accompanied us and sang to their horses as we walked along. They direct the horses with a series of verbal commands, they don't have any whips (one of them didn't even bother with a saddle). Mongolian horsemen are amazing, they look like they were born in the saddle. Anyway we rode for about an hour and headed back. Pretty sore, we had dinner and early to bed.

The next day we awoke to the most amazing dust storms. It was hard to even go the short distance to the toilet shed, you couldn't see anything and were getting pelted with grit. The plan had been to head off on another hike but this was impossible. One of the gers collapsed and our hosts came in to hold the central rope (and presumably our ger) down. We were pretty relieved to see our van come and collect us and take us back to Ulan Bataar. We were due to go on another five day trip the following day and needed to prepare.

Hiking and horseback riding in Mongolia

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